Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 14th, 2012

Then, worn with toil, and tired of life,
In vain her shining traps are set.

Rose Cooke

West North
Both ♠ A Q 5
 Q 10 9 5
 J 6 4
♣ Q 9 4
West East
♠ J 9 8 6
 A K Q 10 9 5
♣ A 8
♠ 4
 8 7 6 4 2
 8 7 3
♣ 7 6 5 2
♠ K 10 7 3 2
 A K J
♣ K J 10 3
South West North East
1 Pass Pass
1♠ 2 Dbl.* Pass
3♣ Pass 4♠ All pass

*Good cards


I try to make the deals on Mondays slightly easier than the later deals within the week. But beware! Today's deal contains an unfriendly trap.

South declares four spades, West leads the diamond king and ace, and declarer ruffs. Declarer can almost always make the contract, as long as the trumps are no worse than 4-1. But he must begin by cashing the ace and king of trump! When the 4-1 spade break appears, he plays on clubs. West ducks the first club to try to disrupt declarer’s communications, then wins the second and plays another diamond.

Declarer ruffs and is now reduced to one trump in each hand, while West has two trumps left. Declarer now simply plays on hearts. (This line succeeds no matter which shape West started with — either two or three clubs.) The idea is that when West ruffs in and returns a diamond, as he must, declarer discards a club from table, ruffs in hand, and then uses his remaining clubs as substitute trumps. He runs the clubs, overruffing West whenever he ruffs in, and has the rest.

If it turned out that East had the four trumps, either declarer would be able to cash all of the side winners, or East would find himself in a situation like the one shown here.

Playing the trumps reflexively by cashing the spade ace, then the queen, sees declarer fail in this layout. West scores a second trump trick one way or another.

It looks very easy to lead a spade. I'm not convinced it is right, although it would certainly keep my partner happy! Right or wrong, I'd lead a low diamond (not the 10, because it runs the risk of blocking the suit) and be ready to apologize to my partner if necessary. The fact that I have a side-entry makes a big difference here.


♠ 10 4
 A 10 8 2
 Q 10 9 5 3
♣ 7 2
South West North East
1♣ 1♠ 3 NT
All pass      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact